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From a festive fair to Carols by Candlelight
Visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will be able to enjoy a sparkling programme of festive events and activities in the run-up to Christmas. The Arboretum, home to more than 300 poignant memorials to the fallen on its 150 acre site, is to stage a variety of special yuletide events including a food and gift fair, Christmas crafts, and a candlelit carol service. The Arboretum's annual programme of festive events will kick off on Saturday 1st December and Sunday 2nd December with a series of free events and activities taking place from 9am until 5pm. They include a festive fair with handmade gifts and a selection of food and drink, and a 'Rocking Robin' Children's craft workshop where young children can create handcrafted festive robins for the mantle-piece at home.
Carols by Candlelight at the National Memorial Arboretum
The opening weekend of festive activities will be followed by a brand new event for 2018, the Illuminated Arboretum, which will take place each evening from December 12 to December 21. This spectacular immersive experience will see the Arboretum shown as never before with beautiful lighting washing the memorials with colour and creating a series of artistic vistas and interactive displays. Visitors will be able to journey down the torch-lit avenue, experiment with the shadow wall and try creating Morse Code with colourful LEDS, before embarking on a journey through Votive Woods where they can make their own contribution to the display. Tickets for the illuminations, which take place half hourly from 6pm, can be purchased online or by calling 01283 245 100.
Visitors will get the chance to see the Arboretum lit up at night
The Arboretum's annual Carols by Candlelight evening in Heroes Square will take place on Saturday 22 December at 6pm. Carol books and candles will be available to purchase on the evening. A festive memory tree adorned with hand-written messages to loved ones will also be on display in the Arboretum's award-winning Remembrance Centre. For a small donation, visitors can remember loved ones at this special time of year by adding their own individual 'bauble' which will stay in place over the Christmas period. During the Arboretum's 12 days of Christmas talks, starting on Boxing Day and continuing until January 5 inclusive, visitors can enjoy a free 15-minute talk on the memorial of the day. Throughout the festive period, the restaurant will be offering a range of delicious Christmas fare, complete with all the trimmings. A two course Christmas lunch followed with tea or coffee and mince pies costing £17.50 for adults and £9.95 for children. Pre-booking is essential.
The Camp Bastion Memorial is one of more than 300 on the site
Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: "We always welcome lots of extra visitors in December when many families and friends get the chance to spend more time together. We hope that our varied programme of activities and events will provide inspiration for children and adults alike. New for this year, our Illuminated Arboretum will allow visitors to interact with our memorials and the Arboretum's woodland landscape in new and unique ways. We're delighted with its beautiful and dramatic effect and have already sold thousands of tickets - so recommend that visitors book soon so they don't miss it." For more details on these and all other events at the Arboretum, log on to www.thenma.org.uk/news-and-events/forthcoming-events